Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) proposed legislation on Wednesday that would bar payment processors from discriminating against gun retailers.
The leading American payment processors, American Express, Visa, and Mastercard, have moved to implement a new merchant category code (MCC) for firearms retailers.
The move has incensed conservatives, leading them to believe it would create a national registry of gun owners.
To combat this move, Biggs proposed legislation, the No SmartPay for Anti-2A Companies Act, that would bar the Administrator of General Services from awarding a contract under the SmartPay Program for payment processors that have an MCC for gun retailers.
“Credit card companies are now weaponizing their financial systems to erode the Second Amendment rights and privacies of Americans,” Biggs said in a statement to Breitbart News. “Companies such as Visa, American Express, and Mastercard are implementing fire-arm specific codes to flag suspicious purchases made by law-abiding gun owners. These actions raise significant concerns about how this information will be used against law-abiding Americans.”
Established in 1998, the GSA SmartPay Program is the world’s largest government charge card and commercial payment solutions program. Barring credit card agencies from the SmartPay program would amount to a significant hit to American Express, Visa, and Mastercard.
The legislation already has strong backing from House conservatives, including Reps. Ralph Norman (R-SC), Mary Miller (R-IL), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Bob Good (R-VA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Ben Cline (R-VA), Tom Tiffany (R-WI), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Andy Harris (R-MD), and Scott Perry (R-PA), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.
Other Republicans, such as Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX), have fought back against the credit card companies’ financial censorship by taking them directly to task in letters to their executives. In his letters to Visa and Mastercard, he noted that they decided in 2018 not to set separate merchant codes because it would amount to a “dangerous precedent.”
“We do not believe Visa should be in the position of setting restrictions on the sale of lawful goods and services,” Visa wrote in 2018.
“It is apparent that your decision to track and monitor Second Amendment enthusiasts is not based on any financial risk but on appeasing misguided political pressure from gun control activists,” Gooden remarked to Visa, American Express, and Mastercard.
“While it may be politically convenient for you to target the firearm industry at this time, this will undoubtedly lead to an irreversible politicization of our financial system,” he added.